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What to pack for the hospital

There's a lot of chatter around what to pack and what not to pack for the big day. The below  is put together thanks to our friends over at Babycenter.com.au 
  • Your Medicare card, details of your health insurance (if you have private insurance) and any hospital paperwork you need.
  • Your birth plan and maternity notes or antenatal card, if you were given one.
  • Old nightdress or large t-shirt to wear in labour. It will probably get a bit messy, so don't buy anything special or tight to wear in hospital.
  • Dressing gown. This will be useful if you end up pacing hospital corridors in early labour. You'll probably also want one on the postnatal ward. Hospitals can be very warm, so a lightweight one may be better. A dark colour or busy pattern will help hide any stains.
  • Backless slippers that are easy to get on and off. Thongs work well, too.
  • Socks. Believe it or not, your feet can get cold during labour.
  • Massage oil or lotion if you'd like to be massaged during your labour. You may also like to borrow or invest in a massage roller or similar aid, so your birth partner can massage you for longer.
  • Birth ball. This can help you find different positions in labour, and may also help you manage the pain of contractions. Check whether the hospital has the right size for you. If not, take your own. Remember to bring a pump so your birth partner can inflate it for you.
  • Snacks and drinks for during and after the birth. Most women are able to eat and drink during labour, and it can help keep your energy levels up. The hospital will have food and drink available, but you may prefer to pack a few things that you know you like. Choose carb-packed snacks that give slow-release energy to keep you going. Fruit, unsalted nuts, chips, muesli bars, honey sandwiches or honey straws, and popcorn are all good options. You may also want some mints or boiled sweets to freshen your mouth. And pack some coconut water or a few isotonic sports drinks, which are great for giving you a boost when you need it most.
  • Things to help you relax or pass the time, such as books, magazines, games, knitting or a tablet. You may also want to download some fun and distracting apps on your phone to keep you occupied during early labour.
  • Lip balm. Your lips can dry out quickly on a warm labour ward, particularly if you're using gas and air.
  • Glasses or contact lenses, if you wear them. Note that your glasses may fog up when you're in the throes of labour, and you won’t be able to wear contacts if you're having a caesarean.
  • Hairbands, clips or a headband. If you have long hair, you may want it tied up or clipped back. And if your hair is shorter, you can keep it off your face with a soft headband.
  • Pillows. The hospital may not have enough to make you really comfortable. A C-shaped pillow can give you extra support when breastfeeding your baby, too.
  • TENS pain relief machine, if you're planning to use one. Hospitals and birth centres don't usually supply them.
  • Heat packs. Many hospitals have a limited number of heat packs but are happy for you to bring your own. Check first, though, that your hospital allows microwaved heat packs (some have banned them), and has a microwave available so your birth partner will be able to heat the packs.
  • Toiletries and tissues, in case you want to freshen up during a long labour.
  • Music. Create a playlist of upbeat and soothing tracks to distract, calm and inspire you during labour. Some hospitals won't let you plug chargers and other things in, so take a battery-operated device if you don't think your phone battery will last.
  • Oil burner, if you'd like to use aromatherapy oils. Check with your hospital because most have won't allow open flames, but you may be able to use an electric burner.

What should my birth partner pack?

  • Water spray or a hand-held fan to cool you down while you're in labour.
  • Comfortable shoes. They may be pacing the corridors!
  • A change of clothes. Your birth partner may not get the chance to have a shower for quite a while!
  • Bendy straws to help you to have a drink during labour. If you bring reusable straws, don't forget to take them when you leave the delivery suite.
  • Swimwear, if they want to support you in the shower or join you in a birth pool. Check with the hospital first, though, because not all hospitals allow birth partners in the pool.
  • Mobile phone and charger. If they're planning to take photos of your newborn on their phone, make sure that they have enough storage available.
  • Digital camera or camcorder, if you want them to take professional-quality photos or video of the birth and early moments with your baby. Before doing any filming, though, check with the hospital, because not all of them allow filming in delivery or operating rooms.
  • Address book or a list of phone numbers, so you can announce your baby's arrival to your loved ones when you're ready. You and your partner will be able to use a mobile phone in parts of the hospital, but bring lots of change or a prepaid phone card just in case, for all the calls you may want to make.
  • Snacks and drinks. You don't want a dehydrated, hungry birth partner looking after you. If they bring some snacks and drinks with them, they can stay with you rather than leaving the room to search for food!
  • Spare change for the car park or vending machines.

What should I pack for after the birth?

  • A going-home outfit. You'll need loose comfortable clothes to wear while you're in hospital and for the journey home. It will take a while for your tummy to go down, so you'll probably still need your maternity clothes when you get home.
  • Handouts from your antenatal classes or appointments about how to get breastfeeding started, if you plan to breastfeed. If you have a contact card for a breastfeeding counsellor or specialist, take that with you, too.
  • Nursing bras. Bring two or three if you plan to breastfeed.
  • Breast pads. You'll need these even if you don't plan to breastfeed, because your breasts will still produce milk after the birth.
  • Nipple cream. This will come in handy as you and your baby get the hang of breastfeeding.
  • Maternity pads. Bring a couple of packs.
  • Nightshirt or t-shirt. Front-opening shirts or pyjamas are useful in the early days of breastfeeding.
  • Toiletries. Decant these into smaller bottles, or buy travel versions, to save on space in the postnatal ward or your room. You may prefer to choose unscented versions, so your baby can get used to your natural scent. Include all your regular toiletries, such as shampoo, conditioner, soap or body wash, face washer, toothbrush and toothpaste. Also pack your hairbrush and any other accessories you think you may want to get ready for those early pics of you and your baby. The hospital or birth centre will probably have towels. They can be quite threadbare, so you may prefer to bring your own, but it's not something you need to worry about if you're short on space.
  • Old or cheap underwear, or disposable undies. Don't bring your best ones as they will get messy. Big cotton undies can be useful if you end up having a c-section, because they won't rub your wound.
  • Eye mask and ear plugs, to help you sleep on a brightly lit, noisy ward.
  • notepad or journal and pen or pencil if you want to track your baby’s feeding sessions, and for writing down questions for your midwife or doctor, noting what the paediatrician says, jotting down memories of your baby’s first few days and so on.

What should I pack for my baby?

  • Two or three wraps and vests for your baby to wear while you're in hospital. Pack more if you know that you'll be staying in hospital for more than a couple of days.
  • Socks or soft booties, and mittens. Pack a few pairs, depending on how long you'll be in hospital.
  • Hat. This will help keep your newborn warm when he's not sleeping.
  • One outfit for the trip home (all-in-one stretchy outfits are easiest).
  • Baby blanket. Although hospitals can be very warm, your baby may need a blanket if it's chilly outside when you leave.
  • Disposable nappies or reusable nappies. Your newborn will go through as many as 12 nappies in a day. Some hospitals supply a pack of disposable nappies, but you'll probably need to bring extra ones if you're staying in hospital for more than a day or two.
  • Wipes or cotton wool. Your newborn's skin will be very delicate, so many experts recommend using cotton wool and water for nappy changes at first, rather than baby wipes. Some hospitals will provide you with a small bag of cotton wool balls, but you may need to bring more. If you do choose to use wipes, though, opt for ones that are free from alcohol and fragrance.
  • Muslin squares or burp cloths for mopping up any milk your baby brings up (posseting). Many parents say these are among the most useful bits of baby gear!
  • An infant car seat. You won't be able to leave the hospital by car without one. In the weeks leading up to the birth, practise using the seat by buckling a large doll or teddy into it. If you're using a capsule or travel-system seat, it's a good idea for you or your birth partner to also practise fitting the seat in your car, so you'll be able to do it with minimum fuss on the day. It's probably best to leave it in the car until you're ready to leave hospital, as car seats can take up a lot of room.
  • Jacket or cardigan. When you leave the hospital it may be the first time your baby is exposed to the breeze and cold air. For safety, though, remove his jacket before placing your baby in his car seat.
  • Gifts for older siblings. Some parents bring gifts for the new baby to “give” to big brothers and sisters.

When Baby Comes Home 

  • If you are planning on breastfeeding I would strongly recommend our Haakaa products. Make sure you have them at home for your arrival so you don't need to be worrying about running to shops or trying to express order. 

  • I would also recommend having a safe place to put bub when you don't have them in your arms. Our snuggle me loungers are hugely popular as bub snuggles in and relaxes so you can get a moment to yourself.